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ETpro's avatar

If we are all one, which One are we?

Asked by ETpro (34428points) October 8th, 2012

This question expands on ’‘Are we all one?’’.

If you think we are all descended from the One—a supreme being outside of timespace and eternal—then we are all one family, are we not? But which One is our primal progenitor? Is it Yahweh; the Christian Trinity; the God of the nontrinitarian Christian sects such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses; Allah and his Prophet, Abu al-Qasim Muhammad; Brahman and so on through the list of some 3,000 supreme beings man has worshipped or currently worships? If you favor a particular One, why Him or Her and no other? How is your creation story superior to all others, and how have so many among humanity picked the wrong One?

If one of the Eastern or New Age non-theistic religions has Oneness right, which one? Why are it’s believers right and all the others with incompatible beliefs wrong? Can we even honestly say we know we are the Sky Daddy’s people, or the Daddy Sky’s people?

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61 Answers

Coloma's avatar

My definition of being “one” simply means, to me, that we all, man or goose or redwood tree, came from the same melting pot of lifes origins.
Our molocules may be arranged a little differently but the building blocks are all the same. Hence, the oneness of all life forms.

zenvelo's avatar

To me the deities you mention are all the same, just different names.The behaviors of their “servants and prophets” is a different matter.

janbb's avatar

Big Bird at the moment.

Seek's avatar

I’m pretty good with the “one” being an ape-like ancestor about a half-million years ago.

thorninmud's avatar

Here’s the problem: As soon as you name it or describe it, then you’re no longer talking about the One. This is an inevitable consequence of description and naming—it excludes, and nothing can be excluded from the One. At best, you can say “This One”, or even “This”.

ucme's avatar

I am the one & only, nobody i’d rather be…...

downtide's avatar

The “One” we are is Humanity.

Strauss's avatar

@downtide I think the “One” we are is the Universe.

gailcalled's avatar

Big Bird does it for me, also.

janbb's avatar

“We are stardust.
Billion year old carbon.
We are golden..
Caught in the devil’s bargain
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”

- Joni Mitchell

Ron_C's avatar

I don’t believe that we are descended from a supreme being unless the Mormons are right. I figure I’m descended from some black guy that left Africa for a change of climate. Plus, I have ancestors from Naples, Italy and that’s just a short boat trip from Africa. I’m white but the hair I have left is pretty curly. I like the idea of a wide range of ancestors especially since they must have been the winners and lived long enough to mate.

downtide's avatar

@janbb That reminds me of the wisdom of the Minbari:

janbb's avatar

@downtide Yes – it is similar.

Sunny2's avatar

I think it just means we are all human beings and as such, have much in common. Or, “we’re all in this together.”

Blondesjon's avatar


We just need to work on whittling it down a little, since, you know, there can be only one.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t care as long as the “One” doesn’t insist I cover my entire body except my eyes while my mate lazes about in thongs and board shorts, or one that says I can’t eat meat on Friday if I want it or one that says internal combustion engines are bad so I beat the crap out of my horse to make it go faster so I’m not late for church or one that says I can’t eat bacon or meat and milk at the same time. That “One” has way too much time on its hands, it really should be dealing with more important issues than those. Hey “One” you better get your priorities straight!

I prefer my own version who says simply, do good when you can, don’t do bad things. Actually the most of the 10 commandments are a reasonably good guide for living throw in the golden rule and you should be okay.

kess's avatar

The answer would be meaningless to you unless you already have the knowledge of that One.

Knowledge of the Father belong to the sons, and that defines their Sonship and make them One with the Father.

The others, they too are One with Father, except they have no knowledge of Father, thus they cant help but Live without such a knowledge, This is the kingdom of the world which religion are an integral.

So who is asking?

Many are asking but are busy determining what the answer is not…never learning what the answer actually is.

rooeytoo's avatar

^ That’s another reason I can’t seem to find the right “One.” “One” always seems to be a sexist prick!

zenvelo's avatar

No matter what you name him, either we’re all God’s children or none of us are.

wundayatta's avatar

Really, you can’t understand. It can’t be put into words. No description is adequate, and even trying to talk about it is just plain foolish. Anyway who claims any knowledge of the one is fooling you and probably fooling themselves, as well.

The only sensible answer to this question is: I don’t know.

ETpro's avatar

@Coloma I’d say since our biological origins derived from the rocks, mud and chemicals of Earth’s primordial seas, we are one with the mountains, streams, air and space as well.

@zenvelo Why do you think such a supreme, omnipotent being would inspire so much confusion about the name and behaviors S/He prefers?

@janbb Big Bird’s certainly demonstrating his power.

@Seek_Kolinahr Every time I look in a mirror I see proof of that.

@thorninmud Profound. Maybe you are the One. :-p

zenvelo's avatar

@ETpro That’s what free will is all about. If the power that be wanted a single name, we’d all speak the same language.

ETpro's avatar

@zenvelo So your theory is this deity not only wants to be called by lots of different names while decreeing that this and that group put all to death who use the wrong name; but this deity insists that one group of followers bow this way and the other that way, again under penalty of death. Strange deity.

zenvelo's avatar

@ETpro Whoa! Where did you get all this decreeing crap and death shit? Who said God insists on one way or another? That’s not what you are even asking about. You talked about a singularity that is supreme, and everyone on here tells you it something greater than what all the traditional human constructs.

That’s why we have religious wars, because people make this up. And the higher power isn’t intervening, so don’t infer the Power is doing so.

ETpro's avatar

@zenvelo Check in with the Taliban about what should be done to all who call their God by the wrong name, or bow down the wrong way. And you can find people among the American Taliban (the religious right) that are just as ready to spill blood. We can look back at the inquisition, the crusades, the Salem Witch Trials. A great deal of human blood has been spilled over what to call the supreme deity and how to worship said being.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@ETpro I take it that @zenvelo‘s position is that those are all mistaken interpretations of God. He’s not saying they don’t exist, he’s saying that they are wrong (and perhaps even obviously so to all but the zealots).

Bill1939's avatar

Assuming a persona called God exists, it should be impossible for the limited intelligence of human beings to begin to comprehend what such a deity is and, therefore, many differing conjectures about this cosmic entity must arise. Believers, knowing, if only at the gut level, the limitations of their view of the source and purpose of creation, will feel threatened by conflicting conceptions and will be dependent upon a highly regimented religious structure to decrease their angst.

Each cell in our body is conscious of the cells around it, communicates with them and adjusts its behaviors in response to the exchanges, this level of consciousness is far different from that consciousness arising from the neuronal activity of one’s brain. I do not know if the Universe is conscious of itself, or as some have suggested, that the Universe is consciousness. However if it is either, I imagine that our consciousness, relative to the presumed consciousness of the Universe, is like that of our cells.

ETpro's avatar

@Bill1939 Excellent answer. That’s good food for thought.

JenniferP's avatar

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have the truth. First of all, I believe a case can be made for the authenticity of the Bible. It is historically and scientifically correct. It has internal harmony in spite of the 40 different authors and the timespan of 1,600 years that it took to write it.

And the JWs are the only ones using God’s names and doing the preaching work earthwide. Matt. 24:14; Acts 20:20. They don’t teach man made doctrines like Hellfire and the Trinity.

ETpro's avatar

@JenniferP The Bible is rife with contradictions. I doubt we’d get far debating that, though.

Seek's avatar

@JenniferP Not to mention glaring historical and scientific inaccuracies.

gailcalled's avatar

@JenniferP: JW’s truths and mine are very different. What makes them right? What gives them the right to show up, ininvited, at my doorstep and harangue me?

Jews, Muslims, Ba’hais, Catholics and members of the other Christian denominations would take strong issue with “JW’s are the only ones using God’s names and doing the preaching worldwide.” Sez who? How do you know? Is there a signed (and notarized) testimonial?

Are JW’s knocking yurt to yurt in the Sahara or mosque to mosque in the Arab countries?

ETpro's avatar

@JenniferP I’m reading a fascinating book right now called Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America: Revised and Updated Edition by J Gordon Melton. While he does not label splinter sects such as Christian Scientists, The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, the I AM movement, the Identity Movement, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, Rosicrucians, Theosphists, Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, the Unity School of Christianity, Father Divine’s Universal Peace Mission and the Worldwide Church of God as cults today owning to their longevity and integration into the broader religious society, he documents how many were persecuted and labeled cults by the mainstream Catholic and Protestant leaders of the time when they were founded. His honest reporting of the constant strife among those claiming to represent Christ is telling. The history he presents leads one to wonder of many of the religious leaders even believed their own stories, or if instead they believed their story was a great way to get rich.

Bear in mind the YHWH is but one of some 3,000 supreme beings humans have claimed created all that is. And proponents of many of these competing sky daddy myths have splintered into this and that group, each with their own mythology they presented as the one true path.

Given the cacophony of religious voices claiming all sorts of contradictory and mutually exclusive messages as the one true path to Christ, not to mention the thousands of non-Christian claimants asserting that their creation myth is the correct one and their sky daddy is the true sky daddy; it’s going to take more than a string of arguments by assertion (a common logical fallacy) to prove your case that the JW take is the one true path to Nirvana—sorry, Heaven.

JenniferP's avatar

To the one who asked if we go “yurt to yurt” yes, we are active in every country earth wide. Some places we have to be very discreet in our preaching because it is illegal but we do it nonetheless. We get imprisoned for this.

JenniferP's avatar

ETpro-So what if a man wrote a book and shared his opinions. Outsiders don’t understand us and misinterpret us. I have heard everything they have said before and can provide answers. And you are right we aren’t a cult. Sociologists don’t define us that way. We don’t follow a living leader and don’t have extreme practices. We don’t conduct our meetings in private either.

As far as the Bible contradicting itself, it actually doesn’t. The “contradictions” can be cleared up.

JenniferP's avatar

We also don’t think that “most” people will go to Heaven. Psalms 37:9–11; 29 says that the “meek shall inherit the earth.” and “reside forever upon it.”

JenniferP's avatar

We also don’t claim that our Watchtowers are “inspired.” We have made mistakes along the way as we learned. We had to discard some beliefs and traditions and refine as an organization.

thorninmud's avatar

@JenniferP A question regarding those mistakes in the Watchtower:

Suppose one of your members were to see something published in a current Watchtower and think, “No, that’s a mistake”, and were to publicly take issue with it. How would that work out?

JenniferP's avatar

If we had a doubt about something we would not run ahead of the organization and push our own way of thinking. We would wait and if they were wrong about something it would eventually be corrected. Why ask this question of JWs and not any religion? They all have their own leadership that teaches whatever it is that it teaches. The same with atheists and evolutionists. They have their teachers and leaders who they trust too.

thorninmud's avatar

@JenniferP If you don’t believe that the organization is “inspired”, then what makes you so certain that the mistake would be corrected? Mistakes in science get corrected because people don’t hesitate to dissent and challenge. I’m Buddhist, and we have a long and vigorous tradition of publicly challenging each others’ views to refine understanding and correct mistakes, with no one being considered the “final authority”.

So who is “the organization” that makes all of these determinations for the JWs? Is this a few men who decide what you are to believe? Is “not running ahead of the organization” another way of saying that you’re just to believe whatever you’re told until you get a further update? You say that you wouldn’t “push [your] own way of thinking”, but aren’t those men who compose “the organization” just pushing their thinking on you? If they’re not inspired, then why not feel free to challenge them publicly? What would happen?

JenniferP's avatar

thorninthemud-I don’t want to keep this conversation going too long. I am new here and someone warned me that to keep on about something is called “flooding.” I also don’t want to seem argumentative. But I would like to answer you. Our governing body isn’t inspired in the way the Bible is. But they do have God’s spirit with them and he does help them to see a clear picture when they are ready to know things. If every member were to dispute things, there would be endless dissension. You see this in Catholicism. They have their rules and beliefs but there are individual priests who marry gay couples and do things their own way. If they disagree with Catholicism they should leave and find a church that doesn’t teach this.

You don’t have the background in our beliefs to understand where we are coming from. God is working with the “faithful and discreet slave” and “giving them their food in the proper time.” It is a channel that he is using. That is our understanding. and furthermore most JWs don’t have a problem with the teachings. They might not totally understand every little thing but they don’t object to the major teachings. If they did they wouldn’t be one of us. They only get baptized after they thoroughly study our beliefs and accept them. If they change their understanding they are welcome to leave. We don’t kidnap them. But it isn’t their job to challenge the ones who are taking the lead and try to make them see things their way. If you want to discuss this further (or anyone else) email me because I don’t want to draw this out here. I want to be respectful of the way things are done here and don’t want to seem argumentative.

ETpro's avatar

@JenniferP Lest you feel you are guilty of flooding, this is my question, and I have been following your debate with @thorninmud with great interest.

@thorninmud‘s note about the right to challenge and question beliefs and assertions is telling. As a Jehovah’s Witness, you are not even supposed to read and interpret the Bible yourself. You are commanded to accept the belief system passed on to you by appointed leaders in an unquestioning manner.

Because of this, your statement of beliefs is so full of circular arguments and arguments by assertion that it is pointless to dissent, as you will just retreat into an endless recitation of the litany of things you accept because some master said so, and said master is unquestionable because he said so.

That said, carry on if you feel so compelled. Since this is a thread I started, I release you of any concern about flooding. That’s self regulating anyway, because when any of us run on to boredom, the rest of the community just tunes us out. So far, your statements have only strengthened my conviction that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are a long-lived cult that managed to survive their leader, just as the Catholics and other Christians are.

You would probably agree that Scientology is a cult and that L. Ron Hubbard, it’s founder, is dead. So let’s not falsely claim that a dead founder means a belief system that started as a cult is no longer a cult.

thorninmud's avatar

@JenniferP No need to worry about seeming argumentative. By Fluther standards, this is a friendly little chat. I don’t care for attacks and insults, and neither do you, so there’s no harm in talking this out even if we may disagree. I think that engaging with people who see things differently is a very healthy thing for all involved.

You bring up the endless dissension within the Catholic church. While I’m sure that poses no end to headaches for the administration of the church, I see it as a hopeful development for Catholics in general. There was a time when there was little or no dissent within the church, but that was because dissenters were either burned at the stake or excommunicated. That’s a great way to assure consensus; when you purge all those who are inclined to disagree, you end up with agreement all right.

But nowadays we see Catholics feeling free to question the wisdom of policies that are now clearly seen to be based on ignorance. That may make for a lot of polemic, but where there’s polemic, there’s a chance for growth. The administration of the church is very resistant to change because it’s painful to admit that they’ve been wrong all this time. It undermines their claim to divine guidance.

I guess that’s what makes me so wary about your claims concerning your governing body. How am I to trust a huddle of men who are somehow “guided by God”, but apparently not so guided that they don’t make the occasional bad call. They seem to be saying, in effect, “Just follow along because we’re getting divine direction, and if we’re ever wrong we’ll let you know.” I’m pretty sure that the only time they’ll let you know is when circumstances force them to admit it.

If they make a bad call concerning the timetable for the end times, then circumstances will eventually force them to back away from previous assertions (no doubt why they do less of this than they used to). But other calls (e.g. their stance against blood transfusions) that don’t make scientific claims or predictions about the future will not change, because to admit that such calls have caused needless suffering and even death would just be too damaging to their authority.

JenniferP's avatar

So much to answer. I don’t know where to begin. I like a healthy debate and seeing that we are all being respectful I will join in. First of all, one of you brought up the cult word. There are 3 definitions for that. The broad definition in which ALL religions fall under. The second definition is a religion considered unorthodox. However, I believe that the Bible should determine what is and isn’t unorthodox and I believe the JWs have the Bible’s backing. And why do I care if others think my religion is weird anyway? I think it is weird that some people think that they are literally eating Christ’s flesh during Mass. So they can think my religion weird all they want. The third definition is the one that sociologists and psychologists accept and they say that JWs are not a cult. That word is reserved for groups like Warren Jeff’s religion who have very extreme practices. I don’t know if Scientology falls under that or not. I am sure that there are some scientologists that are more well adjusted people that some Lutherans and vice versa. As far as what is the difference between being inspired and God working with the governing body and giving his spirit to them I will try to explain. The Bible is inspired. The men that wrote it were directed given God’s thoughts to write down. At the same time the writings reflected their own styles and backgrounds. Luke used some medical terms (he was a physician) for instance. So while there is a “little” of themselves reflected in the scriptures, it is god-breathed. 2 Tim. 3:16. There are no mistakes. God is working with the “faithful and discreet slave class” and seeing that you (ET Pro) have read about us you probably know that I am talking about those anointed men who are leading us. Although he is using them he is only slowly giving them knowledge. Why do they get off base a little bit from time to time if they have his spirit? Because of their own limitations and imperfections. God gives his spirit and direction but their own imperfections can sometimes get in the way of the spirit and block it. The same with myself. I can see that God has been a positive force in my life but there are many times along the way that I have stumbled and gone in the wrong direction. But anyway, God directs them but they get a little off course from time to time. Not because of him but because of themselves. As far as us inaccurately predicting the end of the world people claim we have done that a lot more than we actually have. The first date was 1914. They did the Bible math and knew something was going to take place in that year but they only got it partly right. In 1925 they misunderstood something. In 1975 they didn’t say the end was going to come like people think. They said that that would mark the end of 6,000 years of human history which was true. They didn’t make a real big deal about it but they did say if the end came then it wouldn’t be surprising. Some individual Witnesses made too big a deal about that, but they were only serving with a date in mind, not for the right reasons. We have been very careful since that time about not giving false hopes. By the way, did you know that some Catholics thought the earth would end in around 500 C.E.? We are not the only ones who have made that mistake. And also Jesus apostles anticipated that the end would come during their time. They asked “Are you restoring the kingdom at this time?” The thing about us is that all of the really big things we have remained consistent. We have always rejected pagan doctrines such as Hellfire and the Trinity. There was a lot to unlearn that had gotten mixed in with “Chritianity” since the first century and it was a process. The Bible says “the end of a matter is better than the beginning.” So too, with us we are refining and learning. We admit when we are wrong and put it behind us. A scripture in Acts says that after Jesus left the world Christianity would become apostasized and in the book of Daniel it says that true knowledge would become abundant in the last days. There are many scriptures that I could cite. As far as why we as individuals leave the interpretations to our leaders is because God works through channels and has always. I have known many non-JWs who think that if you read the Bible and pray about it God will tell them its meaning. The problem is that they all contradict each other. I have known two born again Christians that didn’t believe in Hellfire and many that do. I have known some who reject the Trinity although most don’t. It is like that with other religions too. They all disagree with each other. The Bible says “Prophecies don’t spring from private interpretations.” It also describes a Eunich who was reading the Bible and one of God’s servants asked him if he understood what he was reading and he said “How could I without someone to explain it to me?” So we need our teachers even if they may not always get everything right, they are the best we have. As far as the blood issue, I don’t want to get too long, so I will not explain our scriptural stance. I will just say that transfusions are very dangerous. Diseases are still being contracted that way but that is not all. There are other dangers and even recent discoveries of their dangers. More people die from them, than from abstaining from them. And it really isn’t that much of an issue anymore. There are many alternatives to them. Transfusions are overused and given for frivolous reasons and people that aren’t given blood heal faster and have less side effects. Cancers are less likely to return if transfusions are avoided. When you think of it, the people who point out that we refuse them oftentimes smoke, drink or overeat. Do they care about their own health? More people have died fighting in the world’s wars than from avoiding transfusions. Witnesses stay out of the world’s wars.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^The one of us who is me needs paragraphs in order to read the above.

JenniferP's avatar

I know I should have put paragraphs but that would have made it real long. Sorry.

gailcalled's avatar

Relatively speaking, a little longer and more readable gets my vote.

Or as someone once said, “If I had had more time, I would have made it shorter.”

JenniferP's avatar

gailcalled-Thank you for your constructive criticism. However, I had a lot of questions thrown at me and the way I wrote it is the way I would choose to again. You don’t have to read it if it bothers you. But once again thank you and I will take your opinion into consideration for next time. I have a feeling though that you don’t like my opinions and that is the bigger issue. This is an open forum and ET invited me to “flood” it and I did. That is all I have to say to you on that. Peace to you.

thorninmud's avatar

@JenniferP When presented with a proposition that we’re asked to believe, we humans first ask an emotional question, not an intellectual one: “Do I want to believe this?” The answer to this question is very important, because if the answer is “Yes”, then the next question becomes ”Can I believe it?”, and we see if we can construct an argument that could conceivably support the belief. We won’t be very critical in constructing that argument, and we’ll be willing to stretch and force and fabricate if necessary to get it to work. Then once we have something that we feel works, we’ll defend it to the bitter end.

If the answer is “No, I don’t want to believe this”, then the question becomes ”Must I believe it?”. Do the facts or evidence leave me no other choice than to believe it? Unless that’s the case, then we’ll likely continue not to believe since there are plausible alternatives that don’t force us into believing what we’d rather not.

What I see your organization do systematically is to first present people with an appealing prospect: “You can live forever on a paradise earth, free from strife and illness, cavorting with lions, eternally happy, reunited with loved ones”. There’s something that lots of people would love to believe. To their question ”Can I believe this?”, your organization offers a rationale supporting this prospect with an elaborate argument backed by scripture, with a stiff measure of creative interpretation. Someone who longs to live forever in paradise will latch onto that argument and not ask too many tough questions, because they want it to be true. If they have any misgivings, they’ll content themselves with thinking, “Well, someone who understands all this better than I says it’s so, so that’s good enough for me”.

Once they’ve fully invested in this appealing belief, it becomes very difficult to look at it objectively anymore. They now have friends who also believe and they don’t want to alienate them. They perceive any counterarguments to their belief as a threat, because their elaborately constructed argument doesn’t allow for any modification without collapsing entirely.

I don’t know whether I’d call the result a “cult” exactly; I just see it as people wanting desperately to believe a nice scenario, and thinking that they’ve found a way to make it seem reasonable.

JenniferP's avatar

People can only speak for themselves. I can say that I believe in what I do because of critcal thinking and pure logic. Of course I want to live in a paradise. But choosing to be a JW is not all immediate rewards. It takes work to go door to door. It takes strength to stick with our beliefs when being persecuted. When I became a believer at 11 years old my mother treated me terribly and it went on for years. I held firm. The easier way would have been to “want” not to believe and convince myself it wasn’t true. Many times in life I have been tempted to take the easier way out and in that case I could have tried to convince myself it wasn’t true. But I couldn’t because I can’t shut off my brain from thinking. I did in fact leave my religion in my 20’s for a couple of years. The whole time I still knew it was
true. As far as having friends and not wanting to believe that has never been something motivating me to stay. I don’t form bonds easily with people and am a loner. I do know people in my religion but I don’t form close friendships with people in general. That is the way I am wired. So I could easily leave if I thought it wasn’t true. The one close friend I do have isn’t a Witness. So in a nutshell, I believe what I believe on based on pure logic (although I do love God, I am not serving him just with my head) and I am not staying with it because of a social network.

thorninmud's avatar

@JenniferP Some time back, I read a book, Crisis of Conscience by Raymond Franz, who had at one time served on the governing body of your organization. He describes how, while he was still in the governing body, he began to understand that the organization’s beliefs about the “heavenly hope” and the “earthly hope” were misinterpretations.

But because he was calling into question a fundamental piece of the ideological structure, he ended up being kicked out of the organization entirely. To have accepted his view would have meant retracting decades of teaching, invalidating tons of literature, and appearing all too fallible. Easier just to boot Franz out.

Imagine for a moment that you’re a member of the governing body (though, as a woman, you couldn’t be). Somehow, God is directing you. You say that this isn’t “inspiration”, so presumably you just go with your convictions and, because you’re on the governing body, trust that this is God’s guidance. But now, suppose that a conviction arises in you that runs contrary to a long-standing teaching. Do you just assume that because it messes up the status quo, then it must really be your own faults leading you astray? What if it really is God’s direction? What if the long-standing teaching originally grew out of some former member’s own flawed understanding, and God is now moving you to set things straight?

Here’s a question for you: would you ever be willing to read Franz’s book? If not, why?

JenniferP's avatar

Raymond Franz wrote his book and told his side of the story which by the way I read years ago when I wasn’t going to my meetings. I wasn’t impressed by it at all. You only heard his side of the story. Where did he ever go after he left? If he was right then did he ever acquire a following after he left? Did he take his beliefs and start a new religion? No he just fizzled away into obscurity and wrote a book which he earned money doing. What if after Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes break up she decides to write a book and complain about him? Or he writes a book about her? Is it proof because they tell people their version of events? You don’t know the details about Raymond Franz. I just want to add one more thing. I want everyone reading this to know that I am only talking, not angry or anything. I have a very direct style and don’t want anyone reading me wrong.

thorninmud's avatar

What details do you have about Franz that would give me a fuller picture?

JenniferP's avatar

I don’t know what details you want. I read the book a long time ago. I don’t give him any thought in my life. And I don’t want to. I do know that he tried to sneak some things into our written material behind people’s back and without authorization which is pretty underhanded. If his own ideas had any merit and had God’s backing he would have gone somewhere with them instead of into oblivion. You don’t think he was any more right than we are because you aren’t even Christian, right? Aren’t you Buddhist? Therefore, you reject all of Christendom and would reject his ideas as well.

ETpro's avatar

Per Wikipedia, Raymond Victor Franz (May 8, 1922 – June 2, 2010). For that matter, Moses and Jesus are dead too.

thorninmud's avatar

@JenniferP No, I don’t give Franz’s interpretations any more weight than those of mainstream JWs. I only bring him up to illustrate the many problems that arise when you buy into the concept of divine guidance. These vagaries about “inspiration” vs “guidance”, etc. strike me as the perfect cover for men who want followers not to question their authority too deeply, while allowing themselves some wiggle room.

I contrast that with the advice the Buddha gave: “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

JenniferP's avatar

I agree with Buddha’s saying. I also believe that “I don’t believe everything I am told” but that I analyze things. Proverbs 14:15 says that “the simple believeth every word…” Having said that what makes you so sure your own beliefs are right? I don’t know a whole lot about your faith. Some say you don’t even have a god but it is still a belief system and you look up to Buddha and his teachings? How is he any different than Charles Taze Russell?

JenniferP's avatar

Also, Raymond Franz challenged them but do they have to weakly go along with every challenge? They didn’t agree with him. There probably have been challenges from others on the governing body that they did agree with and it influenced the majority. Not so with him.

thorninmud's avatar

@JenniferP You do believe that man was created 6000 years ago. You believe this not by virtue of reason and analysis, but because you read it in your organization’s publications. No researcher examining the evidence alone would come to that conclusion. You want to believe it, because you want the rest of what the organization tells you to also be true. So you stifle your otherwise sharp (it seems to me) mind on this matter in order to protect the integrity of the whole package of belief that they offer you.

I don’t have any beliefs that I’m sure are right. Buddha was an extraordinary man, and maybe Russell was too, I don’t know. But when Buddha was dying and his companions asked him whom they should follow, he told them that they should be “lights unto yourselves”. He told them that they had exactly the same capacities that he did, and that they had no need to look for the truth outside themselves. Russel’s followers seem to have gotten quite the opposite message.

JenniferP's avatar

If people all looked for the “light outside of themselves” you would just have a lot of people in the world with their own opinions who disagreed with each other which is basically what we see in the world. Some people (and Scientists) do believe that Creation is scientific. I don’t buy into all of the Creation Science. I don’t think dinosaurs roamed the earth with humans or that the earth was created in six literal days. But I do believe that science supports the Bible. If you want to add something more to this, I will read it but probably not respond because this will go on forever. You can email me any time though and I will be happy to converse with you.

thorninmud's avatar

@JenniferP I guess that brings us full circle in our discussion, then: I see disagreement and variety of opinion as the engine of progress and growth, whereas you and your organization see it as a sign that something’s wrong. When I see uniformity of thought and belief—a uniformity imposed by some authority – then I know that I’m looking at a frozen system, incapable of growth, doomed to obsolescence.

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