Is Atheism On The March?This is the second article in the November AWAKE! that deals with atheists, following “IS ATHEISM ON THE MARCH?” Current and former Jehovah’s Witnesses may notice that atheism isn’t a topic that the Watchtower Society covers very often. I guess we aren’t their typical bread and butter when it comes to making converts, as most Witnesses are trained to convert believers rather than nonbelievers. So it’s always interesting when the Society breaks out half a magazine that talks about atheists or atheism generally, especially if you’re a Jehovah’s Witnesses turned atheist like I am. Thanks go to P.Z. Myers for jumping on this one, too. Atheists across the web are all over this issue of the AWAKE! because of him. Including me.

Still, I have to wonder, will this be another one of those condescending “aren’t atheists silly” articles? Also, will the Society resort to its old habits, like quote mining, leaving out important details, and generally skewing the facts in subtle (and not so subtle) ways to shore up its arguments? Or have they improved their style since my days at the Kingdom Hall and learned to give readers everything they need to truly make up their own darn minds about “the truth?”

Read on and find out.

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Is Atheism On The March?I’ve been looking for articles on atheists and atheism from the Watchtower Society for a while now, and I was always disappointed that they didn’t have much to say. They continue to pick on evolution, of course, which many people associate with atheism. But why not atheists? Aren’t we the cool and happening boogiemen of the day? Plus, more ex-Witnesses turn into atheists than with any other group studied so far. With this and the so called rise of new atheism (not my phrase) in the media, you would think the Society would have something in at least one Watchtower or one AWAKE! every year. But you’d be wrong. I was pretty bummed about it … until Cofty at JWD was kind enough to post a link to PZ Myers web site, which addressed an upcoming article in the AWAKE! magazine, called, “IS ATHEISM ON THE MARCH?”

For other ex-Witnesses turned atheists, this might be a bitter pill to swallow. Me? All I feel is hunger … a hunger for more. Waitress, can we have another, please?

Here’s a quote from the article’s first paragraph. NOTE: If your doctor doesn’t recommend you engage in strenuous laughter, turn away now!

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Raymond Franz Dead At 88

Raymond Franz

Thanks to the message boards at JWD, I recently learned that Raymond Franz has died. His books, Crisis of Conscience and In Search of Christian Freedom, did not play a part in my losing faith in the Watchtower Society. But they did for many other ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses. For some ex-Witnesses, these books were the only things that allowed them to feel that they hadn’t gone crazy after all. Especially those whose family and former friends told them they had.

Thanks Ray.

According to Wikipedia:

On May 30, 2010, Franz suffered a stroke. On June 2, his wife Cynthia had doctors remove life support, and Franz passed away not long after. He was 88.

Some of the better threads about it can be found here and here. If you wish to write to Ray’s wife, contact information can be found here.

One of the classier articles detailing some of Ray Franz’s life can be found here.

Debate Tactics At Orlando Sentinel’s Web Site Over Jehovah’s Witnesses

McCain DebateThe Orlando Sentinel blog posted a tiny blurb in their “Religion World” section about Jehovah’s Witnesses called Jehovah’s Witness magazine is world’s most widely read. What makes the blurb interesting? Post number 1 was by someone called LeavingWT. It was a short comment about things he (or she) doesn’t like about Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower Society. Just three days later, and there’s already a full page of comments far longer than the original blurb, with Witnesses and ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses debating about the organization and it’s practices. None of these comments have anything to do with the Watchtower magazine’s readership, of course. Soon, there will probably be pages of comments unless the web site cuts them off. But the thing I found really interesting (and worth mentioning here) is the debate tactics used on both sides.

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