From the AWAKE! Magazine: “I WAS RAISED AN ATHEIST.”

Is Atheism On The March?“I WAS RAISED AN ATHEIST” is the last article about atheism in the November issue of the AWAKE! magazine. This one gives us a personal testimonial of an atheist turned believer, named Frantisek Vyskocil.1 That could make this article the most interesting part of the whole AWAKE! for many people. When you consider how predictable the rest of these articles have been (they were almost exactly like the last AWAKE!2 on atheists) I’m really hoping this one will shine. If you’ve been following the rest of this series (which started here) you know that I haven’t been too impressed so far.3 So you’re probably wondering if this article will stand out or just blend into the crowd.

It’s been a few days since my last post (darn my real job!) so now, I’ll go ahead and give you the complete set. Let’s get started.

The article starts out well enough. We get a very simple explanation of who Vyskocil is a scientist who is “internationally known for his research in neurophysiology.” Cool beans. Then, we’re told that he was once an atheist, but now he “firmly believes in God.” From there, the article offers to explain Vyskocil’s “transformation” by presenting us the answers to a list of questions. Let’s examine these, and how they set us up for the conclusion that’s to follow.

What was your view of religion before you started your career in science?

Here, Vyskocil mentions that his father actually made fun of the clergy. By the time he had graduated from college in the sixties after earning degrees in biology and chemistry, Vyskocil believed that evolution explained the diversity of life on our planet. Note that Vyskocil was raised in a communist country, though the article doesn’t inform us of this until later. So you’d think that a man like Vyskocil would have nothing to do with religion. This makes his conversion all the more uplifting for believers reading the article, though atheists like me will probably just shrug.

Tell us a little about your career in science.

We get a paragraph on Vyskocil’s accomplishments as a scientist, which basically reinforces the idea that he knows what he’s talking about. This is a man of authority, you see. If he believes in God and creationism … well, maybe we should too. If we’re willing to take the testimonial of an individual above the entire scientific community, that is.

Did you ever think about God?

Vyskocil tells us that, despite his secular mind set, he often wondered how other learned men–including his own professors back in college–could still believe in a divine creator. “To me,” he tells us, “God was a human invention. I had also been outraged by atrocities committed in the name of religion.”

Ah, so this one’s a twofer. Basically, it seems that Vyskocil was not only drawn to scientific explanations for things, he was also repulsed by all those other mean old nasty religions. The Society is nothing like those, of course. Hmm. I think I can guess where this one’s gonna go now. Can’t you?

How did you come to change your view of evolution?

We’re told by Vyskocil himself that he began to question evolution when he was studying synapses. He couldn’t believe that something of such complexity could be products of mere chance. To him at least, it really made no sense.

For me, this was an especially disappointing answer. We’ve seen other scientists come out with explanations like this one over the years, so he’s hardly the first. But you’d think a guy with a degree in biology would get that evolution isn’t about blind chance. There is a large degree of randomness, sure, but blind chance is an exaggeration. Or at least a mistake commonly made by creationists.

I suppose that’s the real point here. If Vyskocil comes to this conclusion, so should we. The following relates an experience which helped to shape Vyskocil’s opinion about evolution.

Then, in the early 1970’s, I attended a lecture by a famous Russian scientist and professor. He stated that living organisms cannot be a result of random mutations and natural selection. Someone in the audience then asked where the answer lay. The professor took a small Russian Bible from his jacket, held it up, and said, “Read the Bible—the creation story in Genesis in particular.”

Later, in the lobby, I asked the professor if he was serious about the Bible. In essence, he replied: “Simple bacteria can divide about every 20 minutes and have many hundreds of different proteins, each containing 20 types of amino acids arranged in chains that might be several hundred long. For bacteria to evolve by beneficial mutations one at a time would take much, much longer than three or four billion years, the time that many scientists believe life has existed on earth.” The Bible book of Genesis, he felt, made much more sense.

Now I’m really having trouble with this one. What is the professor’s basis for reaching this conclusion about the evolution of bacteria? How does he know that this could not have happened? We aren’t given any details. The AWAKE! simply leaves us with this assertion and offers us nothing more. Thats pretty disappointing for an atheist. For a believer/creationists, well, hearing a statement like this from a professor like Vyskocil’s is probably worth a grin.

How did the professor’s comments affect you?

If you felt as I did about his response to the last question, this one will blow your mind.

His observations, along with my own nagging doubts, moved me to discuss the subject with several religious colleagues and friends, but I found their views unconvincing. Then I spoke to a pharmacologist who was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. For three years he explained the Bible to me and my wife, Ema. Two things amazed us. First, traditional “Christianity” actually has little in common with the Bible. Second, the Bible, though not a science book, actually harmonizes with true science.

Ah ha! So, the special surprise ending has come. Only we aren’t that surprised, now are we gang? Yep. Let’s recap what just happened.

vyskocilFirst, Vyskocil tells us that he was a man of science and an atheist who began to have doubts in atheism because of science. It usually works the other way around. Take that atheists! So the Society turns the usual story of transformation back on us. Ornery little devils, aren’t they? I’m sure the brothers who interviews Viskocil were high fiving themselves over this one.

Second, Vyskocil is told that evolution cannot be true by an authority figure in his life. We aren’t given much support for this. I don’t think they’re even trying to convince us (we atheists, that is) that he’s right. I really think the Society just wants to bring a tear to the eyes of their intended audience. That’s Jehovah’s Witnesses, for the most part. So it seems that, once again, we atheists have been left out in the cold.

Finally, after wandering the Earth in search of answers, Vyskocil’s quest is met by one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Go fig. Gosh darn it, who’d have thought that all those other religions couldn’t quench his thirst for truth? It took one of the Society’s own to make the cut. And they even taught him that the Bible is about “true science.” Which is weird, since lots of scientists seem to disagree with that. But hey, it’s the Society’s magazine. They can print what they like.

I have to say that this one is kind of anticlimactic, really. It’s pretty much the standard old testimonial. At least Vyskocil wasn’t one of those raging, angry evangelicals who pretend to be former atheists so they can rag on us. Still, as always, I was hoping for so much more. And I didn’t get it. Me sad now.

Has your change of view hindered your scientific research?

Not at all. Every good scientist, regardless of his beliefs, must be as objective as possible. But my faith has changed me. For one thing, instead of being overly selfconfident, highly competitive, and unduly proud of my scientific skills, I am now grateful to God for any abilities I may have. Also, instead of unfairly attributing the amazing designs manifest in creation to blind chance, I and not a few other scientists ask ourselves, ‘How did God design this?’

WOW! So, like, the whole scientific community was converted to creationism! Well, clearly, that’s not what he just said. But didn’t it kind of feel that way? BTW, am I the only one wondering whether Vyskocil actually became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses or not? You’d think so. Why doesn’t the article say he did?

If you’re one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, or even just a believer of another faith, you’re probably feeling pretty good as you read this article. Especially if you’re tired of those darned old atheists who dare to state their religious opinions in front of actual people. Me? I’m afraid I’m feeling kind of sleepy now.4 ::Yawn::

I hate to say this AWAKE!, but I’m just not impressed. Then again, I wasn’t part of your target audience. Now was I? Still, those of us with Witnesses relatives will probably be getting a phone or even a knock on our doors come November. Gird your loins. It’s gonna be a long month.

NOTE: This is part of a series of posts about the this issue of the AWAKE!

IS ATHEISM ON THE MARCH?

HAS SCIENCE DONE AWAY WITH GOD?

A WORLD WITHOUT RELIGION-AN IMPROVEMENT?

“I WAS RAISED AN ATHEIST?”

Followed by:

Conclusions On The Articles About Atheism

The Watchtower Society’s Writing Style: Their Literature’s Most Effective Techniques


  1. The Wikipedia article makes no mention of his conversion. Darn it.
  2. Once I went back to check, it looks like I was actually thinking of an article in the Watchtower magazine. Oops.
  3. I plan to do another article, coming soon, where I look at the formulaic nature of the Watchtower Society’s publications and how they affect their readers. Stay tuned.
  4. Due to boredom thanks to the highly predictable nature of this AWAKE! article.

About The Atheist Geek

The Atheist Geek is a former Jehovah's Witness turned secular humanist. He's a lifelong sci-fi geek and a writer wannabe.
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44 Responses to From the AWAKE! Magazine: “I WAS RAISED AN ATHEIST.”

  1. Ty says:

    Man, some random scientist had an emotional reaction that led to changing his mind about belief in god? Wow, I am totally convinced!

    Forget evidence! The most compelling argument the WTS has ever heard is, “Does this make sense to you? If no, then GOD!”

  2. I really think the Society’s literature is more about reaffirming what JWs already “know” (believe, actually) and making them feel good about it. Also, there’s the need for something to talk about when they come to your door and offer you a book or a magazine.

    We atheists usually want to be convinced, or at least allowed to make up our own minds. That means you give us all the pertinent facts, all sides of all arguments, instead of telling us what we’re supposed to believe.

  3. Ty says:

    Also, are we supposed to see this guy as an authority figure because he’s a scientist? I’m fine with that if that’s what they’re saying, but I must then point out that scientists as a group have the highest percentage of atheists out of all education levels.

    So, WTS, you can point to the anomalous individual scientist who went from lack of belief to belief. I will point to the much larger majority who move from faith to atheism the greater their science education is.

    Appeals to authority are a two edged sword, guys.

  4. Chris John says:

    I used to be an atheist until I realised that it was an untenable position. I don’t understand how anyone can define a concept like a god. Even more so I don’t see how different people can have the same concept of a god. Why a god should want to be worshipped is another mystery as is the concept of prayer. Everything in the Universe seems to work by itself in mathematical precision or in at least statistical certainty. Science as a philosophy has created the modern world and makes predictions that can be tested. Science does not make sense, it is not believable, but it works with or without our faith. Religion makes sense, gives comfort but provides no new knowledge.

    • Chris John,

      Atheists often hear from people who claim they used to be atheists until they had a change of heart. We tend to view these stories with a little suspicion as evangelists often make up stories like these. Not saying you’re lying here, but if you’re dealing with a room full of atheists, this might not be your best opening line. And no, I’m not asking you prove it. Just sayin’ so you’re aware of it.

      I wasn’t totally clear on what the rest of your post was really driving at. You said that you eventually realized that atheism was an “untenable position,” but I don’t see how any of the comments which followed support that. I also disagreed with most of them.

      I don’t want to be an old meanie and start picking your comment to pieces or anything like that. Still, I guess I was expecting some big finish that would tie it all together. Instead, it felt like you left it incomplete. I almost thought you were switching your mind at the end and saying you didn’t believe in any gods after all. If you could straighten me out on all that, I’ll address your comments in full afterward.

      I’ll give you a few days or so to respond. If you don’t, I’ll assume you’ve moved on.

      Thanks for reading.

  5. Andy says:

    Hmm, this website is fairly ironic… moaning about publications from the “religions” yet you make your own publication damning everyone else apart from your own…uh…belief?

    You’re all as bad as each other.

    • Andy,

      I have no idea what you are talking about, nor any idea what you read that would make you react this way. What publication of mine are you talking about? Where have I damned all religions?

      If you’re going to launch an attack and come out swinging like that, you leave us only with the impression that you’re freaking out over a knee jerk reaction to something you probably misunderstood. If you want to resolve something, set something straight, or anything else constructive, you’ll have to do better than that. If these are not your goals, then why did you post any comment at all unless it’s just to lash out? (In other words, “moan” about it.) Is that all you wanted to do?

      If so, I’m disappointed too. Beyond that, I have no idea how to take your comment because I don’t know what you’re talking about.

      If you’re reasonable, I’ll be reasonable in return about your comments. Why not come back and make something better out of this than how you left it?

  6. Sandra says:

    I actually read the article before the interview. The point is that nor atheism nor false religion has bought on a better world. What I understood from the interview is that even a scientist, a very intellectual person with lots of knowledge can believe in a creator. I do believe that the world would be a much better place without “false” religion because that’s what it is– false– it does not teach the truth about god and what he condemns/approves . This is my opinion and I can sincerely tell you that I have a very satisfying And happy life believing in a creator and believing in what science has to offer. From what I have learned in school science proves that a creator exists. I have faith in both

    • “The point is that [neither] atheism nor false religion has bought on a better world. What I understood from the interview is that even a scientist, a very intellectual person with lots of knowledge can believe in a creator.”

      I was wondering: did this really surprise you? Or rather, did you once see these as mutually exclusive things? It might be interesting if you could expand on that a little more. Why would they be exclusive at all? Even if were contradictory, that wouldn’t stop people from having a kind of “faith” in both, which you say you have.

      “From what I have learned in school science proves that a creator exists.”

      This doesn’t surprise me very much, though I would have preferred a few examples of what you meant specifically. If you’re trying to impart a message to us (and I think you are given the tone of your comment) it might help if you could offer at least one or two.

      Generally, I often find that the line of reasoning people take to reach a conclusion like that is … well … kind of a stretch. People often overlook the things which disprove or weaken their beliefs while focusing only on the things that seem to reinforce them. In schools, it’s sometimes teachers who do this. They leave out the equally import problems while sharing their line of reasoning with their students–students who assume their teachers have the whole picture. I often see this sort of cherry picking in books. But if you dig deeper, you usually find it’s untrue. Or at least I have so far.

      Not meaning that as a put down on your viewpoint, though. Only explaining why statements like that don’t go very far with me. Again, if you’d care to expand on your comment, I’ll consider anything you want to share. It’s hard to offer a response or reaction until then.

      As to neither “atheism nor false religion has bought on a better world” I would say that this has no bearing on which of them is true. Maybe nobody has it right.

      Either way, I don’t think your statement was very fair. We’ve yet to see an atheistic society unless you think Communism is somehow linked to atheism per se. To me, the problems of Communism are problems with … well … Communism. A secular atheist country hasn’t really been given a chance to exist yet. Still, anything run by humans will have problems. Maybe that’s why people keep wishing for a (hopefully) benevolent divine autocracy to take over for them. It’s an easy out for us. God does all the heavy lifting. And, in some belief systems, all the killing at Armageddon.

      Are you a JW yourself? If not, what do you consider to be a “true religion?” And how do you know it’s true if you have one?

  7. Ty says:

    Not totally true AG. Sweden is one of the most secular countries on earth, with only about 10% of Swedish citizens claiming that religion is important in their lives.

    It also happens to be a quite successful country, with poverty and crime and levels the US would be envious of, and one of the highest literacy rates in the world.

    In fact, looking at the graphs of religious belief in first world nations, there is a pretty clear correlation between secularism and prosperity. Or, perhaps, between lack of prosperity and religious faith.

    • I think an argument can be made that Sweden isn’t an example of a completely secular country for a few reasons. AFAIK, it wasn’t designed to be secular from top to bottom, it’s culture just sort of evolved or leaned that way over time. It also has a national religion and a Church of Sweden.

      So while its citizens are WAY more secular than those in the US, I don’t think it’s quite an atheist mecca. It may be the closest thing around, though. Believers will still claim it is somehow reaping the benefits of religious world culture and the countries far more religious past.

  8. Ty says:

    According to my friend from Sweden, even mentioning what religion you are is enough to keep you from being elected to public office.

    Compared to the US? Sounds like an atheism Mecca to me.

  9. tony says:

    Like someone pointed out, it think the point in the interview was to show that a highly educated individual could believe in a creator. Its a an attempt by the society to deflect popular claims that those believing in God are brainwashed church-going iliterates.

    The mans journey from atheism to theism was compressed to two pages. As a result not enough information could have been provided to completely detail his reasoning, I think asking the man to personally give you the full story would be interesting.

    In the interview it can be estimated that he started seriously questioning evolution in 1970. From that time to the time the magazine was printed i.e 2010, alot of new discoveries supposedly reasserting evolution as a fact have arisen. However the man is yet to change his mind. Why?

    I think its because whatever this man saw in his studies of nerves synapses showed too much evidence of purposeful design. No where in the article has he come out to strongly attack evolution, he only asserts that evidence for creation is stronger.

    I live in africa and we have a saying, If in the daylight you see a roach in your house then there must be thousands hiding in the kitchen that coming at night.

    If out of a thousand rivers you see one flowing uphill, which one would you investigate?

    • Like someone pointed out, it think the point in the interview was to show that a highly educated individual could believe in a creator. Its a an attempt by the society to deflect popular claims that those believing in God are brainwashed church-going iliterates.

      This doesn’t really change my views on the article, but I can go with that.

      I believe I mentioned a couple times in this series that there is a sizable difference of values at work here. The Society and many of its readers are looking for different things than someone like myself is looking for when I pick up a magazine. I also acknowledge that I, as an exJW turned atheist, am not their target audience.

      The mans journey from atheism to theism was compressed to two pages. As a result not enough information could have been provided to completely detail his reasoning, I think asking the man to personally give you the full story would be interesting.

      I agree. It might have even improved my review. :-)

      No where in the article has he come out to strongly attack evolution, he only asserts that evidence for creation is stronger.

      This is often the part where evolutionists/atheists and believers/creationists fall out of step with one another. We certainly disagree on what constitutes real evidence. It’s hard to change another person’s mind about something when you try to reason with them your way and they just kinda shrug because they’re unimpressed.

      This is what both sides have more or less been doing to one another.

      Nonetheless, thanks for sharing your comments.

  10. mims says:

    I noticed you like to say right after tearing apart a comment that’s non-atheistic that you don’t want to do it or you won’t yet…

    You are also right to say that these types of articles aren’t designed to re-convince ex JWs. I think this article and most of the magazine was about having a choice in believing in a creator or not, for me it brought out that you don’t have to follow the masses, or the majority, it’s okay to stand out.
    Like the professor, you had all kinds of information that led you to you’re conclusion but you made the choice to believe it or not.

    I think the title on the awake speaks volumes, its about people who jump on a bandwagon without actually knowing it’s destination or route for that matter. I know people whom if asked why they don’t believe would simply say because of science. Is that a satisfactory answer, some of these people only have basic scientific knowledge that is secondary school biology and what is reported on the news. Its never about going out and doing your own search. That’s what the professor did, that’s what you did. And other people are entitled to that.

    remember something from the magazine, both atheism and theism require faith…they are all the same to me both just trying to convince people to match to their tune instead of making their own minds up.

    do excuse any grammar or spelling etc mistakes i’m trying to tone down my vocabulary for my own reasons.

  11. “I noticed you like to say right after tearing apart a comment that’s non-atheistic that you don’t want to do it or you won’t yet…”

    I didn’t quite understand this comment. Maybe you could tell me which comments you were referring to, and then I could respond better?

    I will say that if someone posts a comment that’s aggressively reactionary or angry, I certainly reserve the right to fire back at them. I try not to take stances like “all religious people are stupid” or “all JWs must be crazy.” And I try to return respectful comments with respect. But I’m not going to cower in a corner if someone comes after me, either. I will stand up for myself. I will also admit it if the person shows me where I was wrong.

    Bear in mind that written conversations like email or blog comments tend to be taken as meaner or angrier than the original author intended. I try to consider this when I answer comments. Anyone’s comments-including mine-can seem hostile when they’re only meant to be no-nonsense and straightforward by the author. My comment to Chris John wasn’t meant to be mean or cruel, for instance. I was pointing out where I disagreed and asking the author to respond. If they did not, I simply assumed they had said their peace and felt better for it, which often happens. People often drop comments to get gripes off their chest and then go without bothering to check for a response.

    Regarding the rest of your comments, you’re welcome to a different opinion than mine about anything. I don’t think anyone is really saying that we don’t have a choice in believing in a creator or not. I certainly think it’s OK to stand out. JWs do this. So do atheists.

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean about “people who jump on a bandwagon without actually knowing it’s destination.”

    Atheism and theism both being about faith: I think that depends on how broadly you define faith. If you define faith very broadly–so broadly it includes ideas like trusting experts, researchers, or even evidence, for instance–then atheists probably have faith too. No one can know everything or even research everything, so we are required to filter out true info from fake or self service info. To me, you go with the best you have. We probably disagree on what that is. It might be the Bible for you. Everything I know about the Bible tells me there’s plenty of reasons for doubting it. What can you say about that, really?

    Note, however, that you can only broaden the meaning of a word like faith so far before it loses any useful meaning. Faith and belief are two words that get treated this way often in discussions like these. Same can be said for atheists and fundamentalists.

    Cheers.

  12. tony says:

    AG, May i ask what made you become a JW and then later an ex JW?

    • That’s a bit of a long one, Tony. My comments are already long enough! You can get some more info at my About page (click on the “about” button on the top right of the site) but much of that is about going from believer to nonbeliever. So I’ll say this, and then, after you’ve checked the entry on my about page, I can fill in other details if you have more questions.

      I think the short answer is that the Society was too authoritarian for me. I think–on some level–I thought I was dealing with a slightly different governing body than the one I was actually getting the day I signed up. Of course, it’s not all that clear that the GB is really calling the shots these days. But after 5-6 years, my delusion was shattered when I started reading the same stuff in the mags that our local elders had been saying all along. In the words of Eric Cartmen, it wasn’t just the locals who were telling me to “obey [their] authoritah!” Only I hadn’t fully accepted that until I started seeing it incontrovertibly on the pages of their magazines. I had seen problems, but had blamed them on the very conservative local Elders. I had also gone from very happy to very depressed during my 5.-6 years. Something needed to change, and suddenly, I wasn’t sure why I was hanging on to the org anymore.

      So I stopped going to meetings to sort my head out. And the Witnesses came after me with a vengeance for it. It took several years for them to lay off. Their hounding me actually encouraged me to defend my stance, and to even find one. I hadn’t actually decided to leave yet, you see. I just wanted time to figure it all out. I was only in my early twenties. I might have even come back if they’d backed off. They didn’t.

      So I finally did do the research. I rejected it much of it at first, but came back to it again until I really looked at it and realized that the Society’s facts were usually wrong. Then, while researching books like the Creation Book line by line and even contacting some of the people quoted in the book via email to check their statements, I discovered articles on philosophy and atheism. By this point, years had passed, and I had already begun to see myself as an agnostic. I soon realized that the correct term was atheist.

      You could say that science and history play a part in my atheism, but much of it has to do with simple logic and critical reasoning. In other words, I’m not an atheist because of evolution per se. It’s more about the flaws (they’re flaws IMO at least) that I’ve uncovered in religious thinking. I tend to see secular atheism as the stronger, more likely position. Sure, maybe I’m wrong. But I don’t think I’m wrong, obviously.

      Let me know if that makes sense or not. :)

  13. tony says:

    I read your about page as you suggested in my quest to find why you no longer believe in God. My belief is that you got into the faith for other reasons other than THe reason… The ring of truth. You only find truth when you question a lie. When you are ok with the lie the truth is not that attractive..read on.

    My mum started taking us to meetings in the early nineties right after she found the faith herself. I was not yet in my teens and therefore basically attended so as not to anger mum. Later when i hit my teens mum started talking about a bible study and before i knew it a brother was assigned the task of bringing me into spiritual maturity. I studied the book “knowledge that leads to everlasting life” with him for a month or so.

    To be honest even then the truth never sank in, basically because i had not yet started wondering what the point of life was. I thought that happiness was all about money and cars and women and not about what the brother was telling me.

    After we were done with the book he asked me to think about the next step( baptism) and to get back to him. I never did. After the last study, i stopped going to meetings and went back to the world. 10 years worth of exposure to the world confirmed what i had been taught by the brother. Only in the last couple of years did i really start to seriously study the faith of Jehovah’s witnesses and i do believe they have the truth. I read an article on one recent awake about a girl who went through what i did and has as we speak returned to the fold. This gave me strength that i was not a lost cause.

    It did not surprise me that your former brothers and sisters came after you after you left the truth, even ones that didnt speak to you before. The fact that they did meant they were concerned.

    You left because of the governing body’s rules and not of any perceive inconsistencies in the bible. When you understand the words of God through the good book you end up understanding the rules…as they are themselves bible-based. AG, i dont think you were ever in the truth. You are where i was.

    • If I had realized you were investigating my reasons so you could post your assessment of my views, I probably would have responded differently. For the record, I don’t see any similarities in our situations. Tony, no offense, but I think you’re writing events and motives from your own life onto mine.

      As it is, I don’t think you have nearly enough information about me to reach a reasonable judgment about any of this. I also think you might be conflating my reasons for dropping out of meeting attendance with my reasons for atheism, which are in fact quite different.

      I started attending meetings for a lot of reasons. One was that they were willing to study with me. I was a kid and didn’t know other more conventional groups would do the same. I was curious, and the indoctrination process worked its magic on me. I very much interested in their teachings and certainly absorbed them and understood them. Believe it or not, I became a believer through and through. But only for a time.

      I stopped going to meetings initially because I didn’t like the organization itself and I was becoming depressed, though I still believed what they had taught me about the Bible generally. I had begun to seriously doubt that they were the true religious org and needed time to think about it more on my own. Years passed before I really saw myself as an ex-Witness and I thought I might return for the first 4 years of so after I quit attending meetings. For some, the truth and the org are one and the same. As is loyalty to god. This was not how I saw it. We may disagree here, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t REALLY “in the truth” at any point. If it does, then you clearly have a radically different idea about that than my I once had. That doesn’t make either of us wrong, of course.

      Atheism came about a decade later, though very gradually. My reasons included doubts about the Bible, but that merely reaffirmed my opinion at that point. The Bible is hardly the only self-proclaimed source of “Truth” out there. To me, doubt in the Bible isn’t good enough to doubt all gods in general unless you’re idea about what a real god means is already pretty narrow. That is, unless you assume the god of the Bible is the only way to go and have already discounted all the other options. I was willing to consider all angles at this point–including, finally, atheism: no gods. I found the arguments of atheists very hard to refute, while those of apologists were consistently very weak IMO. That’s when I went from “maybe an agnostic” to “definitely an atheist.” Science, philosophy, and all that kinda stuff went into that change of view over a long period of time.

      As to people harassing me because I needed time away from the KH, I don’t consider that proof of love or concern. Many evangelists have a personal need to prove themselves, and I was an opportunity. A target, even. Not to say that they had no concern for me, but I don’t think it was the only one. Certainly not when you consider the extremes they went to. These behaviors can also be very self serving. You will have to read my other articles about evangelism if you want to understand me on this one. I can’t repeat them all here. Bear in mind that many of these articles were written for ex-Witness who are being harassed as I was. Note also that there’s a fine line between love and obsessive behavior that is ultimately self defeating. We may never agree on where that line is.

      Tony, you might be someone who has a lot of opinions about atheists without a lot of understanding of why people become atheists. I don’t know if you fit that mold–I don’t actually know you, only what you posted–but I will offer you a friendly suggestion: don’t make too many assumptions about others you are trying to understand. It’s OK to have suspicions based on minimal information, but always know that you’re probably at least half wrong. (That goes for everybody.)

      Sometimes, it’s easier to pigeonhole atheists as being confused, misguided, bitter, or having easily psychologized motives for seeing things differently than yourself. Like JWs and other believers, we are not a stereotype. We are whole human beings. People and their motives are complex. I think you are at risk of jumping to conclusions which happen to support your preexisting views too quickly and conveniently. I could, of course, be wrong. If I am, I’m willing to have my mind changed. As I said, people and their motives are complex–neither of us has nearly enough info about the other to make a fair assessment of the other. What ya gonna do?

      No offense, believe it or not. But I think your post demanded a response from me. So I felt compelled to give it. Long though it was… :) Hope I didn’t come off as mean. If I did, it wasn’t intentional. Just being honest.

      Thanks for posting.

  14. blase 1743 says:

    “…but I will offer you a friendly suggestion: don’t make too many assumptions about others you are trying to understand. It’s OK to have suspicions based on minimal information, but always know that you’re probably at least half wrong. (That goes for everybody.)”

    And then you said this before that;

    “As to people harassing me because I needed time away from the KH, I don’t consider that proof of love or concern. Many evangelists have a personal need to prove themselves, and I was an opportunity. A target, even. Not to say that they had no concern for me, but I don’t think it was the only one. Certainly not when you consider the extremes they went to. These behaviors can also be very self serving.”

    I think that’s a tad hypocritical. Sure you were a JW so you’re aware of a number of the teachings etc but that doesn’t mean you have the ability to read the actual intentions of people. I don’t know you but i can obviously deduce you never got to that place of viewing what they did as loving so it’s understandable why you view them this way but you said yourself “atleast half wrong”.

    “I very much interested in their teachings and certainly absorbed them and understood them. Believe it or not, I became a believer through and through.” – I fail to see how and why such a person could fall away especially how they could refuse the help of the those in congregation which is advised in situations like yours. Have you ever wondered what would have happened if you’d just humoured them? (I’m curious). I don’t mean to be rude or insensitive as to what you’ve been through but apart of you must have known where you would end up going through a depression without the brothers/sisters.

    this is why i agree with tony to an extend when he said “You left because of the governing body’s rules and not of any perceive inconsistencies in the bible. When you understand the words of God through the good book you end up understanding the rules…as they are themselves bible-based. AG, i dont think you were ever in the truth. You are where i was.”

    I don’t think its conflation because the governing body constantly urges JWs to check themselves that they are fine spiritually so that if they aren’t they can do something about before its too late. Recently they said, “ask yourself what convinces ME that God exists”. They don’t ask that you follow blindly as a scientist myself i find it hard to just take people’s word. If you truly absorbed what you were taught and believed it, you would have known the effects of disassociation and purposely missing meeting; consciously or subconsciously it sounds like you were looking for a way out.

    the reason i commented though wasn’t to amateur psychoanalyse or sound mean or anything was just to point out that your point about “the witnesses who came after you” is negated by your other point about making rash assumptions about people you don’t know. Granted you might have known some of these people as friends but you couldn’t judge where they were spiritually enough to know they had other motives for trying to convince you not to take the path you’ve chosen. i’m not trying to imply they are perfect and you’re not i’m just saying sometimes the things you say like the ones quoted go can go both ways. think about that. i could be half wrong, let me know :)

    • To blase and Tony,

      If you’re goal is to reconvert anyone with these comments or to somehow lash out at critics like myself (and I’m pretty mild compared to most of them) you should know that this isn’t going to change our minds either. You kinda sound as consistently absolute and “just plain right” as many JWs and fundamentalists I have encountered, too. I won’t bother arguing with you about which of us is the most consistent with applicable stereotype. I’m just sayin’.

      I don’t think you’ve really given us a topic to discuss, only challenged me about my own life and experiences because you don’t believe parts of them or my interpretations of them. What else can I say about that, except that I don’t care to run in circles with you about it? I’m just going to say what I have to say and then I’ll let it be.

      My motives here are to offer useful advice and commentaries to fellow atheists/ex-Witnesses who would like to hear something that isn’t quite so extreme as JW hate sites. I’m even willing to have dialogues with believers, but I can’t get very far when you don’t believe anything I tell you about the subjective details regarding my own experiences. Seriously–who would want to have a dialogue with either of you after 5 mins of that, guys?

      Regarding my being hypocritical …

      There were Witnesses I was distantly acquainted with who kept coming after me at home, at work, even in public places. Some who were strangers, and SOME I KNEW QUITE WELL. Some of them insulted me publicly, others left dozens of messages on my answering machine and some even sat outside my home and waited for me day after day. They made me late for work, were peaking through the windows of my car, etc. etc. It was relentless. Whatever else that may day, it isn’t love. It’s screwed up. This is the kind of harassment that some XJWs put up with for years, just as I did.

      That’s all the details you’re going to get. This happened after I stopped going to meetings, not before. That was entirely another set of situations. BTW, the Society’s teachings really aren’t that complex. They are pretty simple to understand.

      Anyway, having been a Witness for a number of years, I was certainly in a position to have an opinion about their motives. As I said, human motives are complex. It can be tempting to just pigeonhole groups of people with simple psychology so they can be easily written off. Nevertheless, I think some of the motives for evangelism–especially aggressive, put your foot in the door evangelism–are self serving. Sorry if that bugs anyone, but it is what it is. What else can I say about that?

      Blase, I will tell you the same thing I told Tony–you simply don’t know enough about any of this to have a reasonable opinion. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thing to say at this point. Ultimately, either you believe me about my own life or you don’t. Don’t expect me to keep batting these comments back and forth about it.

      That’s all I got for ya. Maybe I need to add a forum for discussions like these…Sheesh.

  15. blase 1743 says:

    one last thing i forgot, in regards to the part about you absorbing it all and believing…why i think otherwise…what happened to looking for the good in everyone including those in the congregation, you chose to view their actions in a negative way and as they say, the rest is history. i’m not suprised that wound up being drawn to philosophy etc. i just don’t think you should discredit tony saying what he did. it does have some merit even though i don’t know you. Put simply you’re not the first and you won’t be the last but at the end of the day despite different situations, routes taken in the truth, actions etc, there is a pattern which is why the GB is able to advice JWs about it so we can try to avoid it. Even if guidelines aren’t followed and a person does eventually leave for whatever reason, the patterns are the same.

  16. blase 1743 says:

    No no, another forum is not necessary. This is the last thing i will say about this, i will not and was not trying to “reconvert” anyone. I’m not so egotistical as to think i have such power. Even if i could, i wouldn’t.

    I wasn’t questioning the truth in your experiences i was simply looking at them from a different point of view people do that everyday with others. I also never said the teachings weren’t simple i said you perhaps didn’t understand them to the extent to which you could have but i won’t get into…

    I do sincerely apologise for any offence taken, that was not my intention. I’m just the sort of person who likes to have my own opinion about my life but i don’t usually mind people giving me theirs although some will take a mile which i may have done in you’re case. I am aware of some JWs who can be like you’ve described and i’m aware that the society can sometimes deal with these with little haste but personally my first solution would be to classify every egg in the basket as bad because of some…for one thing i would have moved congregations first and if everyone turned out to be…then maybe i may considered disassociation. I actually met someone whose been in a similar situation and they’ve moved to our congregation.

    But each person to their own…again i apologise for downplaying your experiences but i do still partially stand by the comment i said about being hypocritical. Half the things i’ve read in your websites against JWs etc are things you do yourself as a person but in a different way. you should remember they are human too and not perfect so yeah i do believe you to an extent that JWs can act in a manner you’ve described but i believe some were only trying to help out of love, it just got overshadowed by the bad that happened. in the same way youths in the organisation can be a bad influence, they aren’t perfect.

    I won’t comment anymore, i think if we met in real life i’d be much nicer and more understanding, being behind a computer brings out the worst in people sometimes myself included. So with that said, i wish you all the best and it was nice discussing with you, when i wasn’t unintentionally insulting you that is. I just choose to believe and see the best in people especially the JWs because i know they only try to help in my experience. I have met an ex JW who was abused (violence that is) as a child and kicked out before 16, he’s left because of that but he still associates because he knows not all the same some really do try to practice what they preach. i could go on about these stories but i think you get my point. and again no, i’m not in the business of trying reconvert, it comes of that way but i’m not even good at converting, i just merely have an interest in science which is what brought me here in the first place as well as a strong belief in God. that’s all now.

    ciao!!!

  17. Tony says:

    AG. Before we go any further let me just state that i am not here to convert anybody. Just as you didnt create this platform to convert anyone to your way of thinking. If it wasnt for your assault on the Awake article you we would never have net(sic)

    However you should know that it takes more to being a Witness of Jehovah than just words and going out to knock on doors. Its about conviction and your readiness to even lose your life for it. And many did during the reign of Hitler when they refused to sign forms renouncing their faith. Many also died in the former Soviet Union on their refusal to conform to the state’s atheistic ideology.

    When you are in the truth you have conviction that what you believe is the truth. you just dont believe it to be so but you know it.

    I really wonder how you could have been there and left. But then again like you said, you havent provided enough info for us to go through.

    • These posts have raised my awareness of one thing. I probably need to write an article about issues like these in general. That will give me the opportunity to respond better. I kept disliking what I had written to you both, but felt like you deserved a response. Finally, I had to post what I had and call it quits for the night.

      Since this is more an XJW site, things will easily get tense when Witnesses post about something they don’t like–and they certainly will find things they don’t like. Truth is, we–as groups–don’t think very much alike.

      As I pointed out in parts of my review, the AWAKE! isn’t intended for atheists, though I was reviewing it as an atheist. Likewise, this site isn’t aimed at JWs…they often disagree with what they read or even be annoyed by it. Just as XJWs get annoyed with JWs telling us what our problems really are, and so forth.

      We are also fighting stereotypes here on top of the limits imposed by this form of communication. Ex-Witnesses often see current Witnesses as judgmental or superior. Many Witnesses seem to see exxers as whiny brats or people who are emotionally screwed up. Both problems make it tough to communicate well.

      I found myself spending as much time working on my responses as I would have with an full article (that was partly where my “sheesh” at the end of that other post came from). My writing time is limited. That’s one of the reasons why this is site is more of a hobby–I just can’t post often enough to do anything more with it than that.

      It probably would have been better to have conversations like these via email, really. The site’s email address is also on my about page. I don’t want to discourage anyone from posting unless they’re being trolls. But I won’t probably won’t carry on a conversation for very long if it won’t go anywhere.

      I do thank you both for posting. I’ll have to work something I can refer Witnesses to in the future that can maybe get us closer to a middle ground when necessary. A series of posts like these won’t do.

  18. Kurt says:

    There are two kinds of evolution:

    1) There’s the version that you read about in the bookstore.

    2) Then there’s the version that PhD biologists, cancer researchers and genetic engineers use to do their jobs every day.

    Version #1 is 2/3rds science fiction. Version #2 is immensely practical and does amazing things.

    98% of people have never heard the *real* evolution story. Have you?

    http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/blog/evolution-untold-story/

  19. Kurt says:

    Atheist throws in towel: 6-year lawsuit challenging Pledge of Allegiance in California

    Since a 1943 case involving Jehovah’s Witnesses, schoolchildren have had the right for reasons of conscience not to participate in reciting the Pledge. The lawsuits in California and New Hampshire both challenge whether students who do not want to say the Pledge of Allegiance can stop other children who do from saying the Pledge in school.
    http://www.speroforum.com/a/50737/Atheist-throws-in-towel-6year-lawsuit-challenging-Pledge-of-Allegiance-in-California

  20. Ty says:

    Hahahahaha @Kurt

    Really? That website calls Evolution science fiction?

    Wow, fundies are chemically incapable of detecting irony.

  21. Rain says:

    I grew up as a Jehovah’s witness and became an atheist. I can’t see how anyone with any critical thinking skills would ever turn back to religion, let alone JW’s.

  22. Man… how BORING am I? I’m one of the many JWs that became Atheist… pfff… SOOO not exciting. On top of that, it nearly took me 50 years… Yaawwwwn….

    • As you can see, Vincent, this article has raised quite a stir. It’s one of the few that draw comments from JWs, though I wish they’d read the other articles in the series before they post their complaints.

      One of your posts was directed at me–regarding an atheist society. I would be interested in seeing a society/country that was truly founded on secular humanist principles, or even just by atheists in general, and see what grows there. The closest things we have to that in real life seem like promising examples. But I’d like to see the real deal and find out what happens.

      Maybe a bunch of us need to start our own country? :-)

      Anyway, thanks for commenting Vincent.

  23. I’m so surprised that there are still all these people who treat atheism as a ‘belief’ — when it’s clearly a lack of belief! I’m not ‘preaching’ atheism — I’m trying to reason the believers into showing me some logic and evidence to support their belief.

    Like Sandra (#8) that says “From what I have learned in school science proves that a creator exists. I have faith in both”

    I had to react…

    To say there is ‘Proof’ that God exists is incredible! How can anyone claim to prove there is a God? Well — we already know the answer to that: “Life too complicated to come by chance, so it has to be God”. Wow… I’m totally convinced now. If it wasn’t Colonel Mustard the murderer, then it must be Professor Plum. We all know life has only 2 possibilities, so if it’s not one, it the other.
    Lets move on from this logical fallacy…

    Science doesn’t call for Faith! On the contrary — it calls for evidence, mathematical common sense, archeology, discovery and theories based on fact and observation. Not Faith… not even close!

    There — I feel better.

    Sigh…

  24. As for your answer on an atheist society dear friend and Atheist Geek, remember that no war — EVER — in human history has been fought in the NAME of atheism. That a few despots were atheist is one thing — but they NEVER fought in the NAME of atheism.
    Even Hitler has abundantly used the roman catholic church as a tool for war (they even had on their belt “God with Us”).

    Now, how many wars in the name of God or religion have we seen?

  25. To blase and Tony;

    I have been brought up a JW, got baptized at 13 (1972), and I pioneered as much as I could, was always gung-ho on my personal study, and loved giving talks. I have always turn down the privileges of MS and consequently elder, because for the life of me, I could never judge another. Other than that, I was way up there.

    My departure was in 3 phases.

    1) My personal studying of the Bible started to provoke deep questions about Jehovah’s character. More and more – over the years- I was troubled by the inconsistencies of His words, and the cruelty of his Mosaic laws, for example. It took me over a decade to ask help from the elders — to dare question (and believe me, you don’t wanna know how deeply reasoned and logical those questions are) — they couldn’t answer. The CO couldn’t answer… no one even tried.

    2) I started getting suspicious of fowl play when the elders told me they worried I was becoming an apostate. I thought that was a heavily convenient way to demonize research and honest questioning. Hence, I wanted to verify something that was on the back of my mind for a while: Evolution. I was shocked (and I shed some really painful tears) to realize the Organization that I trusted and served with my life, was QUOTE-MINING!!! I couldn’t believe it – not the faithful and discreet slave!!! Page after page, verifying the context of what quote they presented– pure lies and misleading art of teaching.

    3) After doubting the validity of God and his word, I realized God’s organization was no better. Lies. So my next step was to open the doors of ex-witness research. I completely ignore those who just crap on the society, or who try to sell their trinity and other lies. I want to read good-faith people’s witness. I learned all about the link between the WTS and the UN for 10 years, the horrible truth about how pedophiles were protected (although they have worked to change that a bit), and most spiritually of all, the fact that they are false prophets, no better than Harold Camping himself (that uses the same “new Light” “wasn’t time for God” lame excuses than the WTS).

    Deuteronomy 18:20-22, it says:
    “‘However, the prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. And in case you should say in your heart: “How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?” when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him.’ (NWT)

    Here’s a rundown of the Society’s predictions, as the self-called mouthpiece of God:

    (after the *** stars, my comments…)

    • 1897 “Our Lord, the appointed King, is now present, since October 1874,” (Studies in the Scriptures, vol. 4, p. 621).

    • 1899 “…the ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty’ (Revelation 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced,” (The Time Is at Hand, 1908 edition, p. 101).
    ***Remember this date was calculated from the pyramid’s measurements! Based on pagan belief.

    • 1916 “The Bible chronology herein presented shows that the six great 1000 year days beginning with Adam are ended, and that the great 7th Day, the 1000 years of Christ’s Reign, began in 1873,” (The Time Is at Hand, forward, p. ii).

    • 1918 “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection,” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, p. 89).
    ***Hence, the building of a mansion called Beth Sarim
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beth_Sarim#Occupation

    • 1922 “The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures than 1914,” (Watchtower, Sept. 1, 1922, p. 262).

    • 1923 “Our thought is, that 1925 is definitely settled by the Scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge,” (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1923, p. 106).

    • 1925 “The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year,” (Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1925, p. 3).

    • 1925 “It is to be expected that Satan will try to inject into the minds of the consecrated, the thought that 1925 should see an end to the work,” (Watchtower, Sept., 1925, p. 262).

    • 1926 “Some anticipated that the work would end in 1925, but the Lord did not state so. The difficulty was that the friends inflated their imaginations beyond reason; and that when their imaginations burst asunder, they were inclined to throw away everything,” (Watchtower, p. 232).
    ***WOW! What a way to accuse the sheep of being the delusional ones!!! Dirty if you ask me!

    • 1931 “There was a measure of disappointment on the part of Jehovah’s faithful ones on earth concerning the years 1917, 1918, and 1925, which disappointment lasted for a time…and they also learned to quit fixing dates,” (Vindication, p. 338).
    ***Not for long!

    • 1941 “Receiving the gift, the marching children clasped it to them, not a toy or plaything for idle pleasure, but the Lord’s provided instrument for most effective work in the remaining months before Armageddon,” (Watchtower, Sept. 15, 1941, p. 288).

    • 1968 “True, there have been those in times past who predicted an ‘end to the world’, even announcing a specific date. Yet nothing happened. The ‘end’ did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing?.. Missing from such people were God’s truths and evidence that he was using and guiding them,” (Awake, Oct. 8, 1968).

    ***Wow… the amazing the irony of this! Have they no shame?

    • 1968 “Why are you looking forward to 1975?” (Watchtower, Aug. 15, 1968, p. 494).

    About 1975, the Watchtower was at best, insistingly misleading. Unfortunately for the Organization, and their attempts to erase the old books and magazines that are an embarrassing witness to all these false prophecies, today the net is filled with the original tapes of talks about the dates mentioned above. The magazine articles are plethora too.
    Thanks to YouTube, for example, the light is very clear!

    ~~~~~~~

    There, you have it. The 3 steps of my life and honest quest for truth.
    I still have a lot of love for my brothers — but they are brain-washed.
    Time will tell that 1914 is a crock, and we are less than 3 years before it’s 100th birthday. All of it based on the pagan pyramids, then readjusted to “fit”… I think in time the brothers are gonna start seeing thru all this and be quite weary.

    The best I can say is “do your homework”. Research openly — believe me, Satan will not bite! Who is stronger? Him? or the Truth? Of course, Jehovah has empowered him to be the God of this system… so you can’t count on the Father too much.

    I am SOOOOO happy since I have ditched all these superstitions!
    Whew!

  26. How reasonable a society this could be indeed… in countries like Denmark, or France (where I spent 23 years of my life), much can be said on how well some of it works… not perfectly, granted, but there is a sense of reason and responsibility it seems… to me at least.

  27. Roland says:

    I’ve read all of the comments in this section and some interest me. For example, it would be interesting to know what convinced the author of the article to not believe in a higher power. For example the author mentions him being a former Jehova’s witness, but what teachings with them wasn’t he accepting, and why? Also I’m not a Jehova’s witness, and neither am I trying to convert anybody. However I enjoy discussing about the Bible and about its teachings, and from personal experience I’ve found Jehova’s Witnesses to be the ones preaching closest to it.

    Secondly I also enjoyed reading about the things Vincent Deporter posted in his comments, for example about former president of the Watchtower Joseph Franklin Rutherford living in Beth Sarim with his Cadillac. And I would like to read more about Watchtower protecting pedophiles, it’s not the first time I hear about it, they even aired a television documentary about it in my country.

    • Roland,

      This article, as well as others in the series (there are several which deal with this issue of the AWAKE!) generated some interesting comments. I wasn’t realistically able to answer all of them in the comments section as they really needed an entire article unto themselves. Some were complimentary, some weren’t so nice, others seemed to come from people running on a very different channel. As in, I don’t think some of them “got” what the articles were about. Of course, not everyone read all of them. They were part of a series and that would have helped.

      You remind me of the need to put out some more articles about these subjects, though. I’ve been plugging away at another writing project (which actually deals with a lot of your questions) so I haven’t written as many articles at AGN recently. Let me briefly try to answer some of your questions anyway:

      I left the Society because I wasn’t so sure it was the true religion any more. I was very unhappy as one of JWs, and as these doubts grew stronger, my reasons for staying with it naturally grew weaker. This wasn’t a doctrinal issue, it was an issue with the Society and its representatives. You are welcome to your own opinion about the org, which seems positive, but I felt the Society was too authoritarian, too black and white in its thinking, and behaved in disturbingly cult-like ways. This became more obvious the longer I was there. So I chose to withdraw from the Society for a time so I could think more clearly. I prayed about it, but knew I was not ready to be objective. So what I wanted most was time so I could reevaluate the Society’s claim as the one true religion properly.

      Two weeks later, local Witnesses began to harass me for not showing up to meetings. This actually made it “worse,” not better. It got scary, in fact. It made me want to dig in and do the research. Which I did a different times over the years the followed (it took years for the congregation to finally leave me alone.) Eventually, I learned that the Society’s publications were badly researched, even misleading. That was enough for me to call it quits. I decided I wasn’t going back and I wasn’t going to bullied into going back.

      As I said, the local Witnesses lost interest in re-converting me over the next couple years (I was very grateful this happened) but in-laws kept coming by even after the rest of the congregation finally left me alone. This encouraged me to do more research because–frankly–it irritated me that they wouldn’t take no for an answer. I found their attitude very insulting, even arrogant. (Not every JW in the world is like this, but at the time, it sure felt like it!) So I wanted to argue with them well enough for them to finally grasp that I wasn’t coming back. It was around this time, more than a decade after I’d left the KH, that I came across the writings of atheists. I found their arguments to be much stronger than those of any apologists, including the WTS’s. This lead me to identifying myself as an atheist. I remain that way to this day.

      That’s about as much as I’m going to give you for now, Roland. But I appreciate your comments and thanks for reading. Eventually, I will post my little podio-book that goes into more details about these issues.

      Regarding your other requests, I do post news links about WT pedophiles whenever I find them, but I haven’t written anything directly about it. This isn’t a WT hate site–it’s a pro-ex-Witness site. So I haven’t been hitting that one as hard as some have. If you do a search on the internet, you’ll find plenty there to read about this topic. You can also find other stories like the ones about Beth Sharim.

      Take care.

  28. Bob says:

    It’s funny how you take so much time to read this, and you don’t believe in it. I’m not trying to offend anyone but you really do have your mind blocked as to all of this.

    • Gee Bob. Thanks. And I was hoping maybe you were talking to someone else, but I guess this is aimed at me. I’m sure you feel better now that you got that off your chest, but did you have anything of substance to say, or is this it?

      Seriously, I can’t do much more than roll my eyes at something like that.

  29. How ironic of Bob to mention a “blocked mind” on this subject. Funny really. When asking Christians “WHY” they believe in God’s Word, hence, in God, I always get roughly the same answers:
    “It says so in the Bible” = poor circular reasoning.
    “God know better than us imperfect humans” = silly reasoning.

    The reason the latter is so ludicrous, is that Christians are presumptuous enough to trust in their OWN judgement that God exists, and that he is superior to us (as only stated in ‘His” word), but then bow their heads to that unsubstantiated godly assumption. All of this without a shred of evidence (even circumstantial)!

    And we free-thinking seekers are “blocked” or dogmatic. (We all know science thrives on dogmatism and conservative beliefs. Duh…)

    The Awake magazine has been mine-quoting, misleading, with outright bias, forever. It is right there, right in front of the JW’s faces — all they have to do is look up the quotes and read the contexts (something they encourage to do for other things).

    Here’s a FACT: The Watchtower and Awake, are verifiably, intellectually dishonest. Period.

  30. I TOTALLY agree that the magazines are intellectually dishonest. And yeah, I don’t think Bob quite gets it either. He’s not alone.

    An atheist could just as easily accuse a believer of having a “blocked” mind about gods or the supernatural. In fact, I’m sure there are Muslims who think Christians are “blocked” against belief in Islam, or Wiccans, or JWs who feel much the same way. If I was willing to take the cheap, lazy way out of having a real discussion about it, I would accuse them all of that very thing when it comes to atheism.

    But I think it’s a cop out. Which is why I gave the reaction I did.

    To have a useful, meaningful discussion on stuff like this with someone who has a very different viewpoint, a person has to be capable of realizing that not everyone thinks as they do. I don’t value that same kinds of reasoning or evidence that Bob does. I’m sure that all the reasons I have for not believing in gods wouldn’t impress Bob one bit.

    But his reasons for believing wouldn’t impress me, either. That’s the thing I would like Bob, and others, to understand.

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