Saturday, July 05, 2014

The Watchtower on Creation

I have managed to lay my hands on another of the Watchtower’s (that is, the Jehovah’s Witnesses) creation magazines. Its title is “Was Life Created?” and it is dated 2010. If you read the two pages I reproduce below you will see that as per my previous post on the subject we find the Watchtower is anxious to disassociate itself from the “religious fundamentalists [who] believe that the Earth and everything on it was created in six 24 hour days”.  In fact the approach of this magazine is very much along the lines taken by the North American intelligent design people who generally believe the Earth to be old but are highly critical of evolutionary theory. 

(Click to read)

As you will see by reading the above pages the Watchtower certainly knows how to play this card: They can align themselves with the scientific establishment against the crackpot anti-science Genesis literalists and at the same time play on doubts about evolution, driving a wedge between design and natural history.  But as I said in my previous article, the JWs are every bit as fundamentalist as the Genesis literalists in the sense I define here: In particular their concept of dealing with sin is bound up with an observance driven faith and this aspect of the Watchtower is very fundamentalist in flavour. This leads them to engage in the holy character assassination of detractors who criticise their system of observances, a practice that is common among fundamentalists. This holy bad mouthing serves the function of engendering the moral duress and alienation that helps separate out a sect's “holy remnant” from society at large. It can also have the knock on effect of making sect affiliates susceptible to a conspiracy theorists world view.

The Jehovah's Witnesses go back to the 19th century when the issue among Christians was not the age of the Earth but eschatology. Because they are a cult the Jehovah's Witnesses were well insulated from the evangelical cultural alienation of the 1960s which panicked many evangelicals into supporting the anti-science stance of Young Earth Creationism.

On Date Fixing

This 1984 'Watchtower' cover (on the left of this picture) alludes to the now defunct view of the JWs that the end of "this system of things" would come within one generation of 1914. At one time the JW's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder was with date fixing but they have had some aversion therapy (i.e. repeated prediction failure!) that seems to have fixed it for them (The OCD, not the dates!). No surprise that an embarrassment of this order is no longer spoken about among them. Equally as embarrassing is the quiz for kids, pictured below, by a Genesis literalist. It also is based on date fixing; namely, a belief in the creation of the cosmos a mere 6000 odd years ago. Much of the Genesis literalist's faith revolves around this particular OCD and they are likely to consider Christians who don't suffer from it as having an inferior faith. But unlike the JWs they haven't quietly dropped the date; on the contrary they are very proud of misleading impressionable children (and ignorant adults) up this garden path of crackpottery! 

Caveat: Poe's law means that the provenance of the above two pictures is subject to question, but as far as I'm aware they are both genuine

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