Sometimes, we see the
world through two
different pairs of glasses
and we don’t even know it.
Ever since I posted my series about the November AWAKE! articles on atheism, I’ve started seeing more comments from Jehovah’s Witnesses here on Atheist Geek News. Some Witnesses say they only stopped here because they saw my “attack” on the magazine and wanted to defend it (or defend the Watchtower Society by implication as the magazine’s publisher). I take exception to this and wanted to explain my position for future commentators.
Here’s the thing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with someone posting a rebuttal or offering a criticism to something I’ve written. Especially if what I’ve written is factually incorrect. I just don’t think words like “attack” are warranted here. Unless every criticism against everything is also an attack, that is. At which point, both words become synonymous and it doesn’t matter which one you use.
I would agree that there are hate sites out there run by people who truly hate the organization and its Witnesses. Some of these people are very angry. Some have a reason to be. But I don’t think this is one of those sites. To me, Atheist Geek News is simply a pro-ex-Witness site, one that offers up stuff for atheists and geeks alike. (If you happen to be all three, why not take off your coat and search for a spell?)
My criticisms of the Society are less about highlighting the organization’s flaws and more about giving fellow exxers1 a chance to defend themselves against Witnesses who want to bully or harass them. (Please don’t say that this doesn’t happen. As anyone who frequents this or other exxer sites should know, it actually happens a lot.) Thanks to the Society’s literature, Jehovah’s Witnesses have a veritable library of arguments they can use when they go after ex-Witnesses for our life choices. So I see nothing wrong with pointing out the problems with those arguments, or even discussing other flaws in the Society’s thinking, to even the odds.
Yeah, this seems fair. Sheesh,
what was I talking about?
In fact, I’d even say that my criticisms aren’t so harsh as the Watchtower Society’s. The organization has been writing about the problems they see with entire governments, other religions, and people of all stripes worldwide for more than a century. They see apostates (or people the organization chooses to label as apostates) as “mentally diseased” and, at times, even suggested that they’re under demonic control.
I’m not exaggerating or making this up–it’s appeared in the literature at different times throughout the Society’s history. If Jehovah’s Witnesses can see criticisms like these as reasonable, then I suggest they’re judging my comments by a wildly different set of standards than the organization’s. And maybe–just maybe–Witnesses who think I’m attacking their beliefs or their literature are being a touch too sensitive about it.
The worst things I’ve said about the Society or its Witnesses were usually said in jest. Yes, I do have a diabolical sense of humor. It’s part of my awesomeness, and not for everyone. For regular visitors, it’s one of the things that keeps them coming back. It also makes most of my articles less boring than most other ex-Witness or atheist sites.
If you have another opinion about all this, please add it to the comments below and we’ll talk about it. Please quote examples and give links where appropriate so I know what you’re talking about. In the meantime, I hope I’ve offered some perspective on the whole “attacking” thing.
- Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, I mean. ↩
- Technically speaking, I think all religions are false because I don’t believe in any gods. But I don’t think the Society’s teachings are any more untrue than those of any other religion. ↩
- The closest I think I’ve ever come to this is suggesting that the organization behaves needlessly cult-like at times. That is to say that some of its policies and views can sound like those a cult might teach. This makes it harder for Witnesses to convince others that they are, in fact, not part of a cult. That’s the actual criticism being made by those comments. ↩